Chris Huhne's ex-wife confided in Isabel Oakeshott, political editor of The Sunday Times, about how he had got her to take his speeding points years before, a court heard.
Ms Oakeshott, said Vicky Pryce told her Huhne had pressurised her into taking the points, giving her a "fait accompli".
Ms Oakeshott, who first met Pryce by chance at the Liberal Democrat party conference in 2010, shortly after her marriage to Huhne had broken down, went on to work with the economist to get the story published.
Giving evidence at Pryce's trial at Southwark Crown Court today, Ms Oakeshott said that as the pair discussed publishing the story in email conversations, it was clear to her that Pryce wanted to expose what she saw as her former husband's wrongdoing.
Vicky was a very, very hurt woman and she was quite clear that she felt that Chris, her former husband, did not deserve to be in the position of immense responsibility that he had at that time.
I am very clear that she wanted to expose what she saw as his true character.
Andrew Edis QC said the jury will hear four phone calls between Pryce and Huhne that were recorded with the help of the Sunday Times in a "set up" to get him to admit the points swapping and prove the story.
Isabel Oakeshott is trying to get the story to stand up so it can go in the newspaper so nobody gets sued for libel or whatever.
The plan was that Pryce would phone her ex-husband, get him to admit the allegation, and it would all be recorded as evidence.
It is, in fact, a set up. Mr Huhne did not fall for it.
He denied repeatedly the suggestion that he had asked her to take any points and said that it was all ridiculous.
We know from what happened yesterday that when he was denying it he was doing that for the benefit, not of the truth, but for whoever might be listening to the telephone call.
He said Huhne was obviously aware of what was going on, and was being "manipulative" but said Pryce was also being manipulative by trying to get him to confess.
The jury was told of an email exchange dating from March 1 2011 between Vicky Pryce and Sunday Times journalist Isabel Oakeshott in which they discussed how to publicise the points affair.
Ms Oakeshott suggested they do a number of pieces including news features and a story at the front of the paper, writing: "This is what I strongly recommend you do, given your dual objectives of bringing Chris down... without seriously damaging your own reputation in the process."
In a later email she warned Pryce of the danger of facing criminal proceedings if she did reveal that she took his penalty points, and that the newspaper was discussing the issue.
Pryce wrote: "I would need some reassurance that it would bring Chris down."
Later she added: "I have no doubt, as I really want to nail him. More than ever actually, and I would love to do it soon."
Ms Oakeshott later replied: "The bottom line is that this story will bring Chris down if you are prepared to go on the record, with the minor risk this carries.
"I think you can make yourself out to be very much the honourable one, saying it has very much been on your conscience ever since, saying you knew it was wrong but you were bullied into it."
Andrew Edis QC told the jury of eight women and four men:
It became public because Ms Pryce told a newspaper, actually more than one.
And she told the newspapers because by then, 2010/11, she had learned that Mr Huhne had been having an affair with somebody else and he, Mr Huhne, had told her, in a way which you may learn something about, that he did not want to be with Ms Pryce any more, it was over.
He said the ending of a long marriage in circumstances like that would undoubtedly be "a cause of immense distress to any wife, or husband come to that".
And there is no doubt at all that Ms Pryce was distressed. But there is also no doubt at all that she was not only distressed but extremely angry and she wanted some revenge.
And her revenge was in the end to pass the story about the 2003 crime to the newspapers so that it would be published in the end, that it would destroy her husband's career.